Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires Add Maren Morris to ‘Highwomen’ Supergroup

Recent multiple Grammy winner Brandi Carlile and Americana favorite Amanda Shires were known several months ago to be forming a supergroup of sorts, the Highwomen, but who the third member would be remained a mystery. That puzzle was solved Tuesday night when Carlile used her Instagram account to post a group photo letting fans know the lineup was being completed by country star Maren Morris, whose second solo album, “Girl,” comes out this week.

Although no official announcement has been made, the declaration seemed clear from the “Highwomen” caption alongside the photo of Carlile, Shire and Morris (and a Rosie the Riveter-style flexed-bicep emoji).

View this post on Instagram

Highwomen 💪🏼 @marenmorris @amandapearlshires

A post shared by Brandi Carlile (@brandicarlile) on

Another social media post appeared to make the unofficial announcement that the trio has already been at work recording. A photo of the three in the studio alongside famed Nashville producer Dave Cobb was posted on Twitter, with the caption “Fun at work,” by Jason Isbell, Shires’ 400 Unit bandmate and husband.

Morris didn’t post about the project herself but replied to Carlile’s, writing, “Thank you for diving into (songwriter Natalie) Hemby’s and my old folky demos for some of this. Love you two.”

The project went public in early January when Shires revealed the group’s name in an interview with Louisville radio station WFPK. At that time she seemed to indicate Margo Price would be part of the project, but that was quickly walked back by Price’s publicist and Shires herself. In a mid-January interview with Variety, Carlile said, “We locked in our final member today,” but held who that was close to the vest.

One thing that’s become clear as Shires and Carlile have talked about the project is that they intend it to be closer to straight-up country, something they previously have only skirted in their more folk-rock-oriented singer-songwriter day jobs.

In her interview with Variety, Carlile spoke of wanting to see the gender gap in country music addressed before her daughters grew up and wanted to become musicians. “I need my kids to not see that the last two months has been the first time in 10 years that there are zero women in the top 20 in country music,” she said. “What if they like country music, and there’s one woman on the radio? What message is that going to send them? So that’s what the Highwomen is about.”

(Read Variety‘s February cover story on Carlile here.)

On Carlile’s Instagram page, as other female singer-songwriters replied with shows of support, she invited them to participate in on the project. “C’mon down!” she told Chely Wright. “Get your soul on this thing,” she wrote back to Courtney Marie Andrews.

And to a presumably male troll who filled the comments thread with remarks like “Pistol Annie copycats” and “So, you think three women is an original idea?,” Carlile responded: “You’re the reason we’re doing this.”

The Highwomen moniker is a play on the Highwaymen, the all-male supergroup formed in the mid-1980s by Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson. In her initial radio remarks about the fledgling band, Shires said she conceived the idea for the group and added that the same was meant to be taken “as in exalted, not stoned. I mean, I’m sure being stoned is fine depending on where you are and all of that. I’m not advocating anything, or un-advocating anything.” Shires mentioned Jim Lauderdale as a co-writer and Sheryl Crow as a likely guest. “Any women that want to come, and men, it’s all inclusive. It’s not like man haters.”

Morris and Carlile sing a duet on the former’s new album and appeared together at the latter’s Girls Just Wanna festival in January. Shires’ seventh album, “To the Sunset,” came out in August, and was co-produced by Cobb, as was Carlile’s triple Grammy winner, “By the Way, I Forgive You.”

More Music

  • Mura Masa’s 'R.Y.C.': Album Review

    Mura Masa’s 'R.Y.C.': Album Review

    With his 2017 self-titled debut album, Mura Masa — a.k.a. 23-year-old Channel Islands spawn Alex Crossan — was nominated for two Grammys, including Best Dance Album, and later won one for his remix of Haim’s “Walking Away.” Guests on the album ranged from A$AP Rocky and Charli XCX to Blur/Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn and Desiigner. [...]

  • Recording Academy President/CEO Deborah Dugan participates

    Executive Assistant Preparing Lawsuit Against Ousted Grammy Chief

    In the latest twist in the increasingly bitter exit of Deborah Dugan from the Recording Academy after just five months, the ousted president/CEO is about to face a lawsuit from her former assistant, Claudine Little, who has retained former Harvey Weinstein/ Charlie Walk attorney Patty Glaser to represent her, two sources tell Variety. The news was [...]

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm

    'Curb Your Enthusiasm' Music: How the Italian Tuba March Found Its Way to Larry David

    When “Curb Your Enthusiasm” returns for its much-anticipated 10th season it does so with it a musical theme that’s a prime example of recognizable sonic branding and has become synonymous with comedy in our complicated times: “Frolic” by composer Luciano Michelini. But surprisingly, this comic march for tuba, mandolin and piano wasn’t specifically written for [...]

  • Kacey Musgraves, from left, Reba McEntire,

    How a Twitter Joke About Women at Country Radio Reignited a Firestorm (Column)

    Do you remember the classic Bee Gees song that goes, “I started a joke… that started the whole world crying”? (It’s okay if you don’t.) That’s how I felt this week after realizing that a sarcastic tweet I’d typed out in a half-minute at a stoplight led to a social media firestorm, then a tempest of [...]

  • Tanya Tucker and Brandi Carlile backstageAmericana

    Tanya Tucker and Brandi Carlile Set as Dynamic Duo for Grammys

    Country legend Tanya Tucker and her producer, Brandi Carlile, will perform together on the Grammys  in one week, both singers announced on their respective social media accounts Sunday. Wrote Carlile: “Let’s. do. this.” (One of the first responses on Carlile’s Instagram came from a fellow Seattle musician, Soundgarden’s Matt Cameron: “Hell yes!”) “I wanted you [...]

  • Billie EilishiHeartRadio ALTer EGO, Show, The

    Billie Eilish, Coldplay, the Black Keys Rock iHeartRadio AlterEgo (Photos)

    iHeartRadio celebrated the alternative stars of its airwaves on Saturday night with AlterEgo, inviting the likes of Billie Eilish, Coldplay, Blink-182 and the Black Keys to Los Angeles’ the Forum. Eilish kicked off the show — a solid strategy in getting the younger set to get in on time — with hits like “Bad Guy,” [...]

  • Singer David Olney

    Singer David Olney Dies During Performance at Florida's 30A Festival

    Singer-songwriter David Olney has died at age 71, after falling silent and dropping his head in the midst of a performance at the 30A Songwriters Festival in Florida Saturday night. Some news reports said he “collapsed” on stage, but that isn’t quite true: Olney simply became still on his stool, leading some audience members and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content